WHEELING - When it comes to success in the classroom and on the playing field, Josh Garrett has done it all. But the recent Wheeling Park graduate gets a bigger thrill from getting good grades than he does breaking records.
''Definitely getting all A's,'' Garrett said. ''Record's are going to be broken eventually, but they can never take away an A. That's something you accomplish all on your own with all the hard work you put into it. It feels better getting good grades; academics get you further in life.''
And Garrett is certainly on the right path. After four years of high school, he carried a 4.75 GPA into graduation. He also accepted his diploma as a four-time OVAC soccer champ and a two-time soccer state runner-up.
Former Wheeling Park standout Josh Garrett, left, has been a success in athletics and academics.
''Soccer is my favorite sport by far. I've always played it since I was a little kid. I always have the most fun with it,'' Garrett said. ''This is my first year running track and I started swimming when I was a sophomore. Everyone said swimming was so easy, but it was the hardest thing I've ever done.''
In his first year of track, he was a member of the 3,200 relay team that set the OVAC and school record. He also owns an OVAC and school record for swimming in the 200 freestyle relay.
''Looking back, I don't know how I did it all,'' Garrett said. ''I'd go to school then go straight to soccer, then go home, do homework, go to bed and repeat. And then swimming and track season would start. My junior year I got a job at the Alpha, so whatever day I didn't have a track meet or a soccer game, I'd be working. It was just crazy, especially when I started to take AP classes.''
Now he will join a small percentage of out-of-state students enrolling at the University of North Carolina in the fall.
''UNC was real tough about taking out-of-state people. They only take about 14 percent, the rest is all in-state,'' Garrett said. ''Initially, they didn't give me any money at all. So getting accepted is the easy part. Then you have to find 40,000 bucks a year to pay for it. But I got a lot of scholarships and grants, so we got it down to about 8,000 and decided we could make that work.''
Garrett also will also be joining another small percentage of the student body by being accepted to Honors Carolina, a collection of courses, special events, and learning opportunities geared toward the top students at UNC.
''I (had) to attend a special orientation in June. There are only about 350 kids in the class of 2016 that got accepted. I'm real excited about it.''
Though the reality of becoming a Tar Heel is just setting in, the dream of attending the campus in Chapel Hill started long ago.
''Ever since I was little I liked UNC solely based on their basketball program,'' Garrett said. ''I just always loved North Carolina basketball. Michael Jordan went there. And I liked the colors, you always see people wearing UNC stuff.''
Now with many of the big decisions out of the way, Garrett still has maybe one of the hardest remaining, deciding a major.
''I'm still not exactly sure what I want to major in. I know I want to do pre-med, definitely. I could major in whatever I wanted to, but it'll probably be biology or chemistry. I'm all about science, learning how things work. Especially the body, it's always been my favorite.
''I'm not sure what to expect from college. Everybody say's its one of the best times of your life.''
And arguably one of the best experiences of attending UNC would be the rivalry with the school 7 miles down the road.
''That's all I want to do. If I could get to a UNC/Duke game and be in the student section going crazy, that'd be so much fun. It's on my bucket list.''